Report Card: WVU 31, Texas Tech 26

RaiderPower.com senior writer Joe Yeager grades every Texas Tech position group on its performance in the 31-26 loss to West Virginia on Saturday at Milan Puskar Stadium in Morgantown (W.Va.).

Quarterback

Patrick Mahomes was arguably Tech’s only skill position player to play close to his potential, and even he was slightly out of kilter. Mahomes was uncharacteristically inaccurate with his short passes, missing a few open receivers. But he also ran the ball to tremendous effect, and was victimized by critical dropped passes from his receivers. The stats sure don’t show it, but Patrick Mahomes played a decent game. Grade: B+

Running Backs

The big news was that in rushing for 102 yards DeAndre Washington cracked the 1000-yard plateau for the second straight season—congrats on the accomplishment—but this fact masks the reality that Washington did not look like his usual self. Washington ran as tough as ever, but looked far slower and less quick than usual. Washington at his best is capable of making three tacklers miss in a span of two yards, but he didn’t make any Mountaineers miss. Justin Stockton  rushed only three times, and did not look promising on those carries. As Stockton’s career rolls along, I am beginning to question whether he has the vision to become an every-down back for Texas Tech. Grade: B-

Receivers

Dropped passes from Devin Lauderdale (one a sure touchdown), Cameron Batson and Keke Coutee were devastating in a tight ballgame such as this, and Jakeem Grant's disappearing act did Tech no favors either. What’s more, there were several occasions where West Virginia plastered this group, forcing Mahomes to throw the ball away or scramble. It was possibly the worst outing of the season for the receivers. Grade: F

Offensive Line

For the most part, this unit played reasonably well. The line managed to hack out running lanes that inexplicably went unexploited by Red Raider backs. Pass protection was tolerably good, although West Virginia didn’t blitz all that often. The only penalties were a false start from Tony Morales and a holding call on Emeka OkaforGrade: B

Defensive Line

Breiden Fehoko  got a sack and showed astonishing athleticism in intercepting a pass tapped by J.J. Gaines, but also spent much of the game being moved wherever West Virginia wanted him to be. Demetrius Alston and Pete Robertson also got sacks, but it was the overall inability to hold in against the run that defines this group’s performance. That, and team captain Branden Jackson's inexcusable unsportsmanlike conduct penalty that probably cost Tech any chance of winning the game in the waning moments. Grade: D+

Linebackers

Tech has something in D'Vonta Hinton, a physical tackling machine on a defense that lacks physicality and tackling ability. He played very well indeed. So did team captain Micah Awe, were it not for an incomprehensible and costly personal foul penalty on West Virginia’s final drive. Unfortunately, the linebackers got almost no help from the defensive line in stopping the run. Grade: C

Secondary

This group had one of its best games of the season, without question. On the whole, coverage was solid, and as a result, Skyler Howard completed only half of his passes for a paltry 149 yards with no touchdowns. Justis Nelson got an interception, and safeties Jah'Shawn Johnson and Keenon Ward were very active in run support, which says as much about the defensive line as it does the safeties. Grade: A

Special Teams

Feast and famine. Clayton Hatfield banged home a pair of short field goals but also kicked the ball out of bounds twice on kickoffs, setting the Mountaineers up in very good field position. Michael Barden did superb work pinning WVU inside its own 10-yardline with pooch punts. West Virginia outgained Tech on kickoff returns 28 to 26, and a poor kick and coverage right before halftime set the Mountaineers up at their 37-yardline, allowing them to drive for a field goal. Grade: D+ 


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